I wanted to show more of how the bracelet has evolved. Here, you can still see the underpainting (the orange bits). I’ve barely indicated the bars on the band on the left and roughly sketched in the gray and pale yellow parts of the crystal. At this point, the bracelet was largely a mystery to me. I tried not to let that bother me, knowing that in my layered approach to painting, all need not be accomplished at one sitting. In fact, the end result is better if I can learn about the objects I’m painting by approaching them multiple times.

Below, I had a chance to study the structure of the bracelet as I discussed in my last post. I could put in the parallel bars and herringbone cross-pieces in the band, and show the pattern of lights and darks in the crystal a bit more clearly.

Below, my goal was to really see what was going on in the crystal. I sat staring at it for quite a while before my brain could begin to make sense of what I was seeing. Giving myself permission not to understand it all, I gradually, I could make out small details. The first thing I saw was a dark bluish triangle in the center-right. The thoughts in my mind went something like this: “I can paint that triangle! No need to worry about anything else, just paint that little triangle. What color is it? It’s a bit bluish and medium value. It’s in the center of the crystal with its bottom edge a bit below the top of the band on the right side.” Next, I noticed a white line underneath it. I painted that. Then I saw an orangey line adjacent to the hypotenuse of the blue triangle. I saw that its value was a bit lighter than the blue triangle. When I’m studying like this, I make no attempt to take in the whole bracelet and judge it. I’m just a seeing machine, recording tiny bits. Later, I can stand back, judge, and make corrections. I go into all of these details here, so that you can see how best to approach a complex form- with baby steps and no pressure to be brilliant. I continued in this manner until most of the crystal was covered in a new layer of paint, more accurate than the first.

I next tackled the band. I saw that the areas between the bars and cross-pieces on the right was really very yellow and light in value. After fixing that with some cadmium yellow mixed with transparent golden ochre, I saw that the cross-pieces closest to the crystal were reflecting a bright orange-yellow. There was also some bits of this color reflected onto the tabletop in the shadow. I put a dark glaze over the part of the band on the left that was in shadow, and picked out a few highlighted areas. When I tried to paint the ring at the end of the band, I was confronted with a very bright highlight shining in my eyes, which obscured the details. I temporarily moved the spotlight to get rid of the highlight. It was still very hard to see, but I managed to get the small dots going around it’s perimeter, and the basic pattern of lights and darks.

It’s not finished yet, but I don’t like to bring any area of the paining to completion before the rest. It’s time to move on to something else for a while. The break is also helpful, as I can approach the bracelet with fresh eyes later and see even more.